The summer of 2019 has been one to remember for cricket fans across Cumbria for a variety of reasons.

It had started with the World Cup, which England won on home soil, with Cumbrian all-rounder Ben Stokes taking centre stage in a dramatic win against New Zealand in the final.

A trip to Wormsley followed last month for Cumberland’s cricket team who reached the Unicorns Trophy final, where they played well but, eventually, lost to Staffordshire in heart-breaking fashion by one run.

While, in the Cumbria Cricket League, Carlisle took the Premier Division crown, with former league champions Cockermouth, once again, winning silverware as they lifted the County Cup, beating Cleator by nine runs at Wigton, while Furness retained the Higson Cup.

For Carlisle, a nine-wicket win against Workington at Edenside clinched their first top-flight title in 37 years, before they ended their campaign with victories at Dalton and Keswick.

But captain Marc Brown reckons Carlisle “set the tone” for their campaign with their opening-day five-wicket success at Cockermouth.

“I think I remember speaking this time last year and being asked ‘What are your targets for next year?’ I think I said at the time that we wanted to win the league,” he explains.

“We beat Cockermouth in our first league game of the season, and that kind of set the tone with the way we easily knocked the runs off against them.

"Chasing down 180 in Cumbria in April is a tough score to chase down on a soft pitch, but we did it fairly easily.

“That kind of set the tone for the season. It’s been an outstanding season."

With the ball, Fraser Conn and Henry Walker took 69 wickets between them for Carlisle. But it was professional Michael Slack who ended with the most wickets this season for Carlisle, claiming 51 scalps, while Slack also formed a good opening batting partnership alongside Ben Davidson.

“If you look at Fraser bowl, he is a bit of a horses for courses kind of bowler. But at a big ground at Edenside, he doesn’t really bowl a bad ball, and the batsman has to do something different,” Brown says.

“He has worked really well with Slacky and that’s why Mike has been taking wickets at the other end, because teams have not been able to score runs against Fraser.

"Fraser is pretty much an ideal bowler for the conditions at Edenside. In my head, I, ideally, was looking to get 100 wickets between four bowlers.

"But we have done that with three. That’s been a real positive.”

On Slack, who will stay at Edenside next year after signing a two-year contract last November, Brown adds: “We identified Slacky two years ago. We have tried to get him more than once.

“We showed confidence in the guy by offering him a two-year contract . The guy has scored 500 runs and taken 50 wickets, in a wet summer, and if that was a first-class cricketer doing that, then everybody would be raving about it.

“But the fact it’s just a local lad who is a good sportsman, he is a good footballer as well [and plays for Carlisle City], it shows what he’s done.”

Cockermouth club captain Gareth White, meanwhile, has been reflecting on his club’s roller-coaster campaign.

On the eve of the new season, 40-year-old White himself was told he wouldn’t be able to play throughout the summer after suffering a foot injury.

But, even without White, Cockermouth have earned a third-placed finish and won the County Cup. Matthew Sempill was man-of-the-match in the final against Cleator, with an inspired innings, scoring 110 not out.

White admits: “It was difficult right at the beginning of the season, we lost myself for the entire season through injury two weeks before the season. So, you take your opening batsman out the side, your captain and 600 or more runs from the top of the order.

"With two weeks to go until the start of the season, that wasn’t ideal, and it left Alex Grainger in a tricky position, from having expected to be vice-captain, to being captain of the side with only 10 days’ notice for the season.

"It wasn’t the easiest of starts to the season with that happening, but with the County Cup win at the end of the season, it finished up being a very good season in the end.”

And White says a number of players have stepped up this term, with Chris Hodgson also having left to join Wigton as professional during the close-season.

Indeed, three Cockermouth men have featured for Cumberland this term in Alex Grainger, Greg Platten and Sempill, alongside Carlisle duo Slack and Davidson.

“That’s been great, it really has,” White enthuses.